Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MST
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is reporting 50 new coronavirus cases but no new deaths after tallying 12 fatalities in the previous two daily reports. The total number of COVID-19 deaths on the sprawling reservation remained at 1,539 on Friday. Officials say a full report wasn't available because the day is a holiday known as Navajo Nation Family Day. Tribal President Jonathan Nez says the holiday is for giving thanks and showing love to parents, grandparents, children and all relatives. He says the best way to do that is by taking precautions to avoid infections during the coronavirus pandemic.
- TRAIL RACE-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are urging the U.S. Forest Service to again allow a decades-old foot race that goes through a wilderness area and up into mountains overlooking Albuquerque. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan and Rep. Melanie Stansbury asks the agency to reverse its 2020 decision that the La Luz Trail Race couldn't be held in the Sandia Mountains. The lawmakers wrote in a letter that the 9-mile event "is a point of pride for New Mexicans and an important source of recreation and tourism." A U.S. Forest Service official said in 2020 that the race should not have been permitted in the wilderness area since it was a commercial event.
- ATTORNEY GENERAL-ETHICS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three state watchdog offices have dismissed a nonprofit group's complaints accusing New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas of ethics violations in connection with the proposed merger involving Public Service Co. of New Mexico. The actions were taken by the state Ethics Commission, the State Auditor's Office and the New Mexico Supreme Court's disciplinary board on complaints filed by New Energy Economy. The complaints alleged a conflict of interest was created when the company seeking to merge with PNM hired an attorney who previously represented Balderas in other matters.
- LAS CRUCES-DEROGATORY TERM
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The city of Las Cruces is considering whether to change a street name that contains a word that's used as a slur toward Indigenous women. Las Cruces Sun-News reports that City Councilor Johana Bencomo recently proposed to change the name of Squaw Mountain Drive. Last week, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland formally declared "squaw" a derogatory term and said she was taking steps to remove it from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. Bencomo raised the issue of the street name during a council discussion on earlier this month.
CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK, N.M. (AP) — A stillness enveloped Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico as Native American leaders gathered under a warm sun. They made the trip to Chaco Culture National Historic Park on Monday to celebrate a recent decision by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to begin the process of withdrawing federal mineral interests from development around the park for 20 years. The Indigenous leaders from New Mexico and Arizona are optimistic the needle is moving on cultural preservation now that one of their own holds the reins of the federal agency that oversees energy development and tribal affairs. Haaland is from Laguna Pueblo, one of the communities that traces its roots to Chaco.
- OBIT-DAVE HICKEY
Dave Hickey, a prominent American critic whose essays covered topics ranging from Liberace to Norman Rockwell, has died. The brash style and mixing of high- and low-brow culture that characterized his work earned him legions of fans and leaves a lasting influence on a generation of artists and critics. Art historian Libby Lumpkin says her husband died Nov. 12 at home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after years of heart disease. He was 82. Hickey, who won a MacArthur "Genius" grant in 2001, wrote prolifically about topics ranging from Norman Rockwell paintings to basketball player Julius Erving.
- ROAD RAGE SHOOTING
ALBUQUEQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police have made an arrest in connection with an October shooting during an alleged road-rage incident in Old Town. Police arrested 29-year-old Joshua Butler on Wednesday. They say witnesses saw a road-rage incident involving a minivan and Chevy pickup. They say the minivan stopped in the road, the driver got out and threw a piece of drywall that hit the pickup's driver's side door. Witnesses then heard a gunshot and the man fell to the ground. Nelson Gallegos was pronounced dead at the scene. KRQE reports the criminal complaint says detectives received a tip that Butler was driving the pickup. Butler declined to comment to KRQE and it was not clear if he had an attorney.